Going Home

Going home is usually determined by the overall development, the stage of adaption, and the current health status of the baby. There are different requirements for discharge such as control of breathing without apnoea, no signs of illness, sufficient feeding skills, weight gain, and independent control of body temperature. Parents should also feel well-prepared for taking over the responsibility to care for their baby at home. A plan for regular contacts with the NICU, home visits or other follow-up care services (e.g. medical check-ups or lactation counselling) should exist before leaving the hospital as well as an enrolment in a follow-up programme for the development of preterm infants.

While still in the hospital, the healthcare team can help reassuring the parents, guiding them towards this important moment by teaching them all they need to know and by involving the parents step by step in the daily care procedures from the time of admission to the hospital until the parents finally take over all parenting activities. Should the baby require special equipment at home, parents receive training and detailed instructions. 

The following content was last reviewed in August 2017

Discharge from hospital – the well-planned transfer from hospital to home

Safe transport and car safety – approved car seats and more

Home monitoring – how to use home monitors to check the baby’s heart rate, breathing or oxygen saturation at home

Safe sleep – taking care of the optimal positioning and sleeping environment of the baby

Immunisation and vaccination – how to prevent infections in preterm babies

At home feeding – adequate nutrition to ensure the optimal supply of nutrients depending on the infant’s age

Contact with family and visitors – a responsible approach to welcoming guests when a preterm baby comes home

Other risks – smoking around the baby or one-way positioning can be very harmful to a baby

Support at home – healthcare professionals that can help parents whose baby is discharged from the hospital

Hygiene at home – easy to practice measures like washing hands are helpful in preventing infections

Follow up – assessing and tracking the baby’s health and growth